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  Apollo 14: Saturn V rocket fueling events

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Author Topic:   Apollo 14: Saturn V rocket fueling events

Posts: 2781
From: Belfast, United Kingdom
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 01-21-2018 04:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Blackarrow     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Gene Cernan writes (in "The Last Man on the Moon") that Alan Shepard drove him out to Pad 39A on the night of Jan. 30, 1971 (the night before the launch of Apollo 14) to see the Saturn V. Cernan writes that "the fueling process was underway," and refers to ice on the side of the rocket caused by the loading of the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen.

Surely this is "artistic licence": the Saturn V Launch Vehicle Flight Evaluation Report for AS-509 states that LOX loading began at 0609 hours on 31 January and, if I read it correctly, LH2 loading began at 0857 hours. Unless Shepard and Cernan actually visited the pad before the traditional astronaut breakfast on the morning of 31 January (is that possible?) then they could not have been present during the loading of cryogenic fuel.

Assuming the visit took place, as Cernan writes, on the night of 30 January, what would they have seen? I'm not sure from the report when the kerosene fueling began, but it was not cryogenic. Could they have seen the flushing out of the fuel tanks with cold helium and cold nitrogen in preparation for cryogenic fueling? Would the cold helium have caused ice to form on the skin of the Saturn V?

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